UK house prices boom outside of London, says Rightmove

Rishi Sunak's extended freeze on stamp duty is thought to be behind soaring house prices

British house prices have risen further over the past month as sellers seek to take advantage of an extended tax break on property sales, figures from property website Rightmove showed on Monday.

Asking prices for property on Rightmove advertised between April 11 and May 8 were 1.8 per cent higher than a month earlier, when they rose by 2.1 per cent.

Compared with March 2020 just before the start of the Covid pandemic, asking prices are 6.7 per cent higher at an average £333,564 ($469,892).

But the national rise masks big regional differences.

Prices in London were just 0.2 per cent higher than a year earlier, while those in Wales had risen by 13 per cent, with double-digit rises across much of northern England as well.

"Last year's unexpected mini-boom is rolling on into 2021, with new price and market activity records again defying many predictions," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove's director of property data.

After an initial slump in transactions during Britain's first coronavirus lockdown in April and May last year, activity and prices have risen sharply.

Many richer Britons have sought larger houses better suited to working from home, and the government cut purchase taxes to spur sales.

In March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak extended the tax break, which will remain in full until the end of June and at a reduced level until the end of September.

Last year there was a surge in demand for housing in rural and suburban areas of southern England, which has now extended to northern areas, Rightmove said.

House prices in London are still almost three times the average price in northern England, but this is the lowest multiple since 2013 when Rightmove started collecting this data.

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